Bulldogs turn focus to Commodores

semerson@macon.comJanuary 11, 2011 

ATHENS -- A win over Kentucky earned the Georgia men’s basketball team a dose of national recognition. It did not earn the Bulldogs a break from the every-day trappings of the weather.

The snow storm that slammed the Southeast canceled Georgia’s plans to fly out to Wednesday night’s game at Vanderbilt. So after some frantic maneuvering, the team chartered a bus and made the trek to Nashville for the game.

“Rolling down the highway,” head coach Mark Fox tweeted at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

When it finally takes the court, Georgia (12-2) will do so as the hottest team in the SEC. The Bulldogs have won nine in a row, the most recent over then-No. 10 Kentucky on Saturday, and a win at Vanderbilt would equal the program’s longest streak since 1948.

The victory vaulted Georgia into national rankings (No. 24 in the AP) for the first time since the end of the 2003 regular season.

Before the poll was announced Monday, Fox shook off the potential ranking, saying it meant “not much really.”

“I don’t know if it makes any difference to us right now. We’ve still got games to play,” he said.

It’s true that the AP ranking may not mean as much as the RPI, and Georgia has work to do there. It ranks 48th in that category, perhaps one reason the Bulldogs still have plenty of work to do to earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament:

ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi did not include the Bulldogs among his projected 68-team field. In fact, Lunardi relegated the Bulldogs to the “next four out,” behind the likes of Florida State, which owns a loss to Auburn, easily the SEC’s worst team.

Georgia could gain more notice with a few more quality wins, and there are plenty of opportunities for that in SEC play. Fox said Georgia athletics director Greg McGarity remarked to him that they may be opening SEC play with the conference’s two best teams.

That might be debatable after Vanderbilt’s overtime loss at South Carolina. At a minimum the East now appears a jumble, with five teams in the top 50 of the RPI, and Georgia is one of them. But so is Vanderbilt, which ranks higher (18) and has two of the conference’s top perimeter players in Jeffery Taylor and John Jenkins.

“Really (Vanderbilt) may be the most complete team we’ve seen to date,” Fox said.

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